Sharp holiday price drops seen for flat-panel TVs

Nov 25, 2010 By JESSICA MINTZ , AP Technology Writer
In this file photo taken March 3, 2010, people look at wide screen televisions at a Costco store in Mountain View, Calif. If you're in the market for a new flat-panel TV, it's a good time to buy. TV prices usually drop from year to year, and the decline will be sharp this 2010 holiday season thanks to a supply glut. Consumers have been holding out all year for better deals, leaving lots of unsold televisions on the shelves. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(AP) -- If you're in the market for a new flat-panel TV, it's a good time to buy. TV prices usually drop from year to year, and the decline will be sharp this season thanks to a supply glut. Consumers have been holding out all year for better deals, leaving lots of unsold televisions on the shelves. Prices for high-definition LCD TVs will fall more than twice as fast as they have so far this year as manufacturers and retailers clear out inventory, analysts predict.

New sets will also be cheaper because have been getting great deals on the most expensive parts, the glass LCD panels.

However, DisplaySearch analyst Paul Gagnon expects prices for those components to level off early next year, so discounts won't be this steep again until the holidays next year, or even later.

For the consumer, that means that if you pull the trigger on a new set in the next few months, you probably won't be kicking yourself next year for not waiting a little longer.

The law of supply and demand is at work here:

- A TV-buying spree in late 2009 led to component shortages, which kept prices high in early 2010. That discouraged consumers.

- Makers of LCD panels invested profits from last year's buying spree in more manufacturing capacity. Thinking 2010 would be as strong as 2009, they flooded the market. But the economy didn't improve as expected.

- As a result, there's an oversupply of panels, and prices started dropping over the summer. That means cheaper sets should be making their way to stores now.

Already, Stores Inc. has slashed prices for some older models. Among the deals: a 32-inch Vizio set that went to $298 from $348. Amazon.com Inc. and Co. are starting to advertise deals, too.

Some of the best deals this season will be on 32-inch , the most popular size. They will sell for rock-bottom rates of $300 or less, compared with about $400 last year. That's because manufacturers are selling raw panels of that size for only slightly more than the cost of making them - $160 to $170 each, far less than the $210 to $220 they fetched earlier this year.

Prices for 40-inch and 42-inch sets will drop about 20 percent, approaching $500, said Gagnon, the DisplaySearch analyst.

Deep price cuts also are coming for higher-end models, including LCD TVs with LED backlights, which use less energy than regular sets and can be thinner or provide improved picture quality. Manufacturers have increased production capacity for parts specific to LED sets; that will drive down prices for components and, ultimately, the TVs themselves.

Overall, good deals will be 15 percent to 20 percent lower than holiday 2009 prices for regular LCD TVs. The price drop had been slimmer at 7 percent earlier this year, Gagnon says, and the decline should return to the single digits by spring.

Of course, the longer a buyer waits, the lower the go. But that has to be weighed against the value of having a new TV. If a 32-inch set turns out to be $20 cheaper next summer, the buyer could have gotten six months of better TV for $20.

"In this industry you always know that in the future, you will buy new technology at a lower price. That's not the point," said Sweta Dash, an analyst at iSuppli Corp. "Especially this holiday, the price you will see is very good."

Explore further: Five features an Amazon phone might offer (Update)

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Prices for flat-screen TVs will not go higher

Dec 31, 2008

Don't fret if there wasn't an HDTV under your tree. (Let's pretend it would have fit.) If you were like me this holiday season, it took considerable effort to get beyond the TV department at the nation's retailers. I was ...

LCD Panel Prices Slide

Aug 21, 2004

iSuppli/Stanford Resources published a report on LCD panel prices. Prices for large-sized LCD panels for notebooks and LCD monitors have begun declining this month, bringing an end to a five-quarter period of ...

Analysts: 3-D TV sales not as high as expected

Oct 13, 2010

(AP) -- Sales of 3-D TV sets have been weaker than expected this year, as 3-D content is lacking and overall TV sales in North America are slack, research firm DisplaySearch said.

Recommended for you

Five features an Amazon phone might offer (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

A report this week in The Wall Street Journal that Amazon is planning to release a smartphone has prompted industry analysts and technology blogs to muse about what the device might offer.

Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million

Apr 17, 2014

Sony says it has sold seven million PlayStation 4 worldwide since its launch last year and admitted it can't make them fast enough, in a welcome change of fortune for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...